Volcano Fail

Trip Start Jul 23, 2012
Trip End Sep 05, 2012

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Flag of Costa Rica  , Province of Guanacaste,
Saturday, August 11, 2012

At the weekend, we went to La Fortuna. It's a very touristy town, famous because of its proximity to Volcan Arenal, a very active volcano. The bus from San Jose took 4 hours, and left at 8.40am meaning a 6am start..
The bus had literally no leg room. Even I struggled, at 5 foot 7. I'd have liked to see Dad or Roger try and survive 4 hours! It was also very hot, and very busy.
When we arrived, we could see the volcano in the distance as we walked to our hostel. Not the top, because it was cloudy (the estimate is that only 50% of people who visit actually see the whole thing..), but the rest of it and it was still very big.
The hostel was an experience. It's billed as 'Costa Ricas 5 star backpackers hostel', but presumably the only reason is because it has a pool. We had a reservation for a 7 bed dorm, but when we got there the guy at reception said we had been moved to tents. I don't like tents. Then, he lied to us, saying he was giving us a discount on the tent because of the change of plan. He didn't. Then, perhaps most bizarrely, the hostel used its own exchange rate of colones (local currency) to dollars, meaning it was cheaper to pay for the hostel in dollars, ostensibly because they use a US bank which charges a fee to convert currency..none of us had dollars.
So safe to say, our first half hour in La Fortuna wasn't a happy one. It got better once we got changed (tents bigger than anticipated) and got into the pool. We decided to go out for lunch, and had a pretty good meal. Then it started raining really hard, so we stayed inside for about an hour, and had chocolate brownies which were amazing. There isn't much chocolate in Costa Rica, so it was a treat!
We went to the hot springs in the evening, which was really nice and we could bring our own drink and food so we made a night of it. Went home, and slept well in the tent.
The next day, we were planning to hike around the volcano, but after a later than anticipated start and realising how much it was going to cost, we had to give it a miss. Not too fussed though, there's another volcano close to home where you can get closer to the crater.
Bus home at 2.45. Home by 7.30, filled myself with rice and beans and went to bed. Not the best weekend we've had, but it was still cool to see the country some more :)
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